If doing the splits has been difficult, or well, seemingly impossible for you in the past, you are definitely not alone. While some people have the natural flexibility that it takes to contort your body into the splits, most of us have to gently prime our body over time to make this shape. There are a variety of stretches and exercises that can help the body ease into this shape and get you one step closer to doing the splits. Be patient and gentle with your body as loosening muscles and increasing flexibility takes time. Forcing your body into a posture will only cause injury and strain, so enjoy the journey and process of creating more space in the body. Practice the following stretches and yoga poses to help your body have an easier time doing the splits.
Come onto your knees and extend your right foot in front of you, planting your heel on the floor as you flex your toes toward your face. Stay on the left knee and shin, keeping the knee stacked underneath your hips. Keep a long spine as you hinge from the hips and fold over the extended leg. Hold and breathe for up to 20 seconds before switching sides.
Place your right foot in between your hands and extend your left leg behind you, tucking the toes under and engaging your quads. Keep the front leg bent at a 90 degree angle, stretching into the hip. Keep your hands planted on the ground surrounding either side of your front foot, or place them on the right knee. Hold for around 30 seconds and then switch sides.
Place your right knee behind your right wrist and allow the shin to become parallel with the front of the mat. Extend your left leg long behind you and square the hips. Place your palms back by your hips and press into them to open up the heart on an inhale, and then exhale fold forward, bringing your chest down to the mat. If your right hip is coming off the mat, you may place a blanket underneath the hip for support and to help keep the hips squared. Hold for 10-20 breaths, breathing deeply and then switching sides.
Find a seated position, bringing the souls of the feet together, coming into baddha konasana, butterfly pose. Create a diamond shape with the legs and keep the spine long as you fold forward. Breathe into the sensation in the hips and hold the posture for 10 breaths.
Start standing with your feet hips width apart. Take a deep breath in and on an exhale, fold over your legs. Keep a gentle bend in the knees and allow the head and neck to hang heavy. You can let your arms heavy to the floor or grab opposite elbows to add extra weight to the stretch. Hold for 30-60 seconds.